Steven John, CIO of AmeriPride, one of the largest uniform rental and linen supply companies in North America, chose Tableau to empower business users with data. As the basis of his decision, Steven cites Tableau’s product roadmap and ability to snap in with a brand new data stack including HP Vertica and Informatica. Using Tableau to analyze several data sources—including data from a fleet of trucks that drives over 350 million miles a year—they discovered that their best margins came from customers within half a mile of each other. An insight like that can define an entire business strategy, increasing efficiency and cutting costs.
Our job is to give [the business] the freedom to govern themselves, and at the same time, behind the curtain, making sure that there's order and that it’s maintained.
CIO selects Tableau for “flexibility and strong roadmap”
Serving over 150,000 customers per week and maintaining more than 115 production facilities and service centers, efficiency is key for AmeriPride Services.
“We've got over 125 locations in North America, plants and service centers, and a fleet of trucks that drive over 350 million miles a year,” says Steven John, Chief Information Officer of AmeriPride.
Although AmeriPride had a wealth of data, Steven recognized the need for clearer, actionable analytics. “We did not have a foundation of clear and clean data and a way to present that in which we could actually build on that [data] and build up our customer experience,” says Steven.
Steven John’s first big project as CIO of AmeriPride was selecting a visual analytics platform that could serve the entire organization.
Steven ultimately chose Tableau for its flexibility and strong product roadmap: “The reason we went with Tableau is its solid today and it has a clear roadmap for the future. Tableau provides us with a great solution now and for years to come.”
In addition to adopting Tableau Desktop and Server, the IT team rebuilt AmeriPride’s information stack to include HP Vertica and Informatica. As part of the rebuild, Steven prioritized self-service analytics for business users.
“[Tableau] is a tool where you can give the business that freedom and they create things you can never even imagine as an IT department. We just can't create those things in an ivory tower. And they in the trenches do a much better job at understanding their own analytics.”
Business users identify most profitable customers—amplifying business growth
Today, several teams use Tableau to understand business processes—from finance and supply chain to transportation metrics. “They use this tool every morning when they come into work. It's the first thing they look at,” says Steven.
In the finance and supply chain sectors, business users soon discovered insights buried deep in the data. For example, these teams discovered that AmeriPride’s best margins came from customers within half a mile of each other. Moving forward, this type of insight helps drive strategy to increase efficiency and cut costs.
Steven explains, “Until we got those various data sources streaming together in a Tableau dashboard, we didn't realize that insight was there.”
Today, the company uses data to help direct customer experience strategy. The IT team handles security and governance, empowering the business to do what they do best—drive profit and company growth.
IT enables the business to increase profit and focus on customer success
Additionally, the IT team established a data governance board that collaborates with business units on data relevance and quality. The IT team also conducts office hours where employees can meet with power users and ask questions about Tableau features and data sources.
“As an IT team, we balanced freedom and order,” says Steven, “The business now uses their time more efficiently, and they're taking Tableau and doing the things that only they can do, which is making more money and bringing us closer to our customers. They can now look at all these statistics and metrics, and they can do their job better.”
The reason we went with Tableau is because it’s solid today and it has a clear roadmap for the future. And that roadmap aligns with where I want to go...It helps me move at the pace that I need to and want to.
“The idea is the businesses are creating [their own tools and capabilities]. The businesses are driving it,” says Steven. “Tableau is a window, a very sophisticated window, but it's a window into their business. And we let them run with that. IT isn't driving that. We are providing a fantastic set of tools, and we are providing any level of help they need.”
“Our job is really to give them the freedom to govern themselves, and at the same time kind of behind the curtain making sure that there's order and that that's maintained.”